August 21, 2017

Is playing at home as important as we think?

PL Chairman Richard Scudamore says clubs' spending is not a problem.

The idea of home-field advantage is one that every sports fan is aware of, but does it have as big an impact in football as we think it does?

According to statistics compiled by ‘Sky Sports’ home advantage has actually been on the decline for quite some time now.

They report that home-field advantage was at its zenith in 1895/96, when 64.6% of games were won by the home side, the sample for this figure came from 480 games played over two professional tiers.

The all-time low on the other hand came much more recently, in 2015/16 when just 41% of matches were won by the home team. The sample size was significantly bigger this time round, recording stats from 2,036 games from the top four tiers of English football.

That same season saw the away win percentage reach an all-time high of 31.5%.

There is no explanation for such a decline, perhaps teams are better suited to playing on the break these days or are better coached or simply travel better.

Whilst home win percentage did rise slightly last year, up to 45% (the highest figure since the 46.4% recorded in 2009/10), the stats for recent years are not kind.

In the last five years, all of England’s top four divisions have set their all-time record low home advantage percentage, though the difference appears to be proportional. A team has a better chance of winning at home in the Premier League than in the Championship for example.

Last season 49.2% of Premier League sides won their home games, compared to 47.5% of Championship teams, 44.9% of League One teams and 40% of League Two teams.

When also is said and done, based on last season, home teams have in the Premier League are 15.9% more likely to win, while this figure drops to 14.1% for Championship teams, 11.6% for League One teams and just 6.7% for League Two teams.

It will be interesting to see next season how the likes of Tottenham cope, playing in their home away from home at Wembley.